Return to story

Reeves' bill protecting secret union ballots alive

November 27, 2012 12:10 am

By Chelyen Davis

By Chelyen Davis


--A state Senate committee Monday voted to keep alive a proposal to protect secret ballots for union workers, ensuring it will get another hearing in the 2013 legislative session.

Sen. Bryce Reeves, R-Spotsylvania County, proposed the constitutional amendment in the 2012 session, but it was carried over--legislative-speak for postponing action.

The Senate Privileges and Elections committee met Monday and voted to keep Reeves' amendment alive for the 2013 session, which starts in January.

The amendment says that "the fundamental right of individuals to vote by secret ballot shall be preserved and protected when local, state, or federal law requires elections for public office, when ballot measure are proposed, or when designations or authorizations for employee representation are required by law."

Essentially, it's a pushback against the federal "card check" bill from a few years ago, which would have made some changes to the way in which employees can vote to organize a union at their workplace.

In a statement, Reeves said he proposed the amendment because federal law could threaten secret ballots in union elections.

"This amendment will protect the rights of all Virginia workers, regardless of federal action, and will ensure that Virginia workers will always retain the right to a secret ballot," Reeves wrote. "I personally think this is a bipartisan issue of individual freedom and fairness. I anticipate a very heated debate on the subject with those folks who believe otherwise."

To become law, a constitutional amendment must pass the legislature twice in two successive years, with an intervening legislative election between them, and then be approved by voters.

Chelyen Davis: 540/368-5028

Copyright 2014 The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company.